The Galleon - Portsmouth's Student Newspaper



Bid to recover slain American missionary comes to a dramatic standstill

Bow-wielding tribesmen scare off police searching for body of American missionary

In the heat of a long distance showdown with the native Andaman Islander tribesmen, Indian marines opted for a strategic retreat from their mission in trying to recover the body of American missionary, John Allen Chau.

Chau had tragically strayed too far into the territories of the Sentinelese people, a pre- Neolithic group whose island is barred to visitors, and lost his life for piercing the bubble of
this perilous territory. The fishermen that escorted Chau to the Andaman and
Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal, later witnessed the tribe burying his body on the beach and reported the murder to the Indian authorities. In response a team of marines were deployed a week later to recover Chau’s body, but withdrew when scouts reported that the tribe were positioned on the rim of the island’s beaches, prepared to fight with bows and spears.

“They stared at us and we were looking at them,” the Director General of Police Dependra
Pathak reported as the marine reconnaissance team returned to base.

Naturally after such a tragic case, The Galleon offers our sincere condolences to the family and
friends of John Allen Chau. The incident also teaches us that, despite our increasingly swelling knowledge of this planet and what inhabits it, there are still undiscovered and dangerous avenues that we still know very little about. Curiosity is not a sin, but must be exercised with caution. In the case of John Chau, his curiosity as a missionary came at a price.

Though man has always been driven to analysing the undiscovered, we must respect the unknown.
If a group of battle hardened marines elect to stand down from a fight against these tribesmen, then the Andaman island clearly holds dangers that are not to be reckoned with.

The six fishermen responsible for escorting Mr Chau to the island have since been arrested and Chau’s family have reportedly forgiven the tribe for their actions and are not pushing for their son’s remains to be recovered from the island.

If you have any comments or opinions about the case of John Chau and the secretive
tribesmen of the Andaman island, then feel free to get in touch at the Galleon.

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